Fonterra enhances water efficiency at milk powder drying operation

NEW ZEALAND – The New Zealand co-operative group, Fonterra has developed and installed ‘a ground-breaking reclaimed water system’ in New Zealand with a goal to save half a million litres of ground water daily (equivalent to 18 milk tanker’s worth).

The site reuses water from condensation that is produced from milk powder manufacturing process.

The water-saving initiative is another approach to sustainability that seeks to create strong healthy local environments and communities for sustainable, profitable dairy farming.

According to Fonterra, the new reclaimed water system treats the excess water via reverse osmosis and chlorination before combining it with the site’s main water supply for general use.

The P3 milk powder plant at Pahiatua, built in 2015, was already 100% self-sufficient for water that is, it does not use any groundwater in the manufacturing process.

Fonterra said since the evaporators produced excess water than required, the new reclaimed water system treats the excess water via reverse osmosis and chlorination before combining it with the site’s main water supply for general use.

“Pahiatua is already Fonterra New Zealand’s most water efficient site, and some clever thinking has taken it to the next level,” said Robert Spurway, Fonterra’s COO Global Operations.

“As an organisation, we’ve committed to a 20% reduction in water use by 2020. Pahiatua is well ahead of the game.”

Tracey Collis, Tararua District Council Mayor said, “Extremely proud of the team at Fonterra and their ongoing commitment to sustainability.

“We very much appreciate the transparency and passion shown by Fonterra to continually use technological efficiencies which also have environmental benefits. This creates a win-win outcome for all.”

Fonterra’s commitments to New Zealand’s waterways include reducing water use and improving wastewater quality at its manufacturing plants while investing in resource efficiency.

Last year, it announced a commitment to reduce water use by 20% across its 26 manufacturing sites and maximize opportunities to recycle water there by 2022.

Fonterra plans to invest more than US$250 million over the next nine years to make changes to these sites that will see them meet leading industry standards for wastewater discharge.

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